Transport in Loire Valley

Experiences in Loire Valley

Tours to the Loire Valley from Paris start from €159

 

Planning a trip to Loire Valley

The Tours Val de Loire airport (Photo by Duch.seb)

How to get to the Loire Valley, France, by car, train, and tour

 

Trains to the Loire Valley take about an hour (€14) from Paris's Montparnasse Station

 

The drive southwest from Paris takes about 2–3 hours to the Loire Valley

 

Coaches (buses) to the Loire Valley from Paris start from €5

 
The Tours Val de Loire airport (Photo by Duch.seb)

You can fly to the Loire Valley from London, Dublin, Porto, Marseille, and Marrakech

 

Lodgings in France

A classic train couchette sleeping six (Photo by DB Autozug GmbH)

Sleeping in couchettes on overnight trains

 

Planning for a trip to France

An Air France jet (Photo by Darkellysio)

Finding the cheapest airfare, air travel comfort, no-frills airlines, baggage restrictions, and more

 
Transportation options to and within France (Photo icons courtesy of AIGA; illustration by Reid Bramblett)

Getting to France and getting around France: trains, planes, rental cars, low-cost airlines and long-distance coaches

 
The Queen Mary 2 (Photo by Trondheim Havn)

Taking the slow boat to Europe: Crossing the Atlantic by cruise boat from $650

 
 (Photo Public Domain)

The most important things to know before booking a rental car

 
An aggregator/consolidator like Auto Europe can let you compare car rental rates side by side (Photo courtesy of AutoEurope.com)

How to find the lowest rates on a rental car in France

 
The national speed limits in France are 50kph in towns and cities, 90kph (soon going to 80) outside of cities, and 130kph on autoroutes (major national highways) (Photo Public Domain)

Obey the speed limits of pay the (high) price

 
 (Photo by Andrew)

A cheat-sheet of the most important things to know when riding the French rails

 
 (Photo courtesy of WikiHow)

How to get the best deal on plane tickets to France

 
I think we've all been this sleepy guy at some point in an airport (Photo by fergusfleming)

Tips on having the most comfortable air travel experience possible, from getting to and from the airport to picking the right seat on the plane

 
A good aggregator, like Skyscanne.net, goes right to the best deals, even if they're from a non-traditional source like Norwegian or Wow (Photo courtesy of Skyscanner.net)

Aggregators search all the booking engines, airline sites, travel agencies, and airfare discounters in the blink of an eye

 
A 17-day National Geographic tour of Burgundy, Paris, and Normandy includes canal and river cruises and biking to vineyards and castles, offered by G Adventures (Photo courtesy of G Adventures)

Guided, escorted, specialty, and packaged tours to France

 
A Go-Today.com package offering roundtrip airfare from NYC and 6 nights' lodging in a Paris hotel for $749 (Photo courtesy of Go-Today.com)

Not a tour, but a bundle of airfare, lodging, maybe a car all at wholesale rates

 
An aggregator/consolidator like Auto Europe can let you compare car rental rates side by side (Photo courtesy of AutoEurope.com)

Hints, tips, resources, and pointers for getting your own set of wheels in France

 
 (Photo Public Domain)

Hints, tips, and advice for renting a car in France

 
 (Photo Public Domain)

There are hundreds of road signs blocking your view on French roads and—more importantly—telling you how to get where you're going

 
The rail system in France (Photo courtesy of SCNF)

France's main train lines

 
A good aggregator, like Skyscanne.net, goes right to the best deals, even if they're from a non-traditional source like Norwegian or Wow (Photo courtesy of Skyscanner.net)

How to get the best airfare every time

 
The author wearing his sleeping-on-the-plane gear (Photo © Reid Bramblett)

Two dozen simple ways to increase your chances of catching some shut-eye on those long overnight flights

 
A cost matrix for flying from New York to Paris in mid-February that shows the big benefits of flight flexibility (Photo courtesy of Google Flights)

Some flexibility on your travel dates can save you up to 50%

 
 (Photo courtesy of FlyInternational.com)

Why pay retail when wholesale airfares to France are available?

 
Rail travel (Photo by Don Burgess)

Rail travel in France

 
You can book a shore excursion via a third party for much less than the ship charges (Photo courtesy of Viator.com)

Book your own cruise excursions for up to 40% less than the cruise ships charge

 
Michelin makes the best France road maps (Photo courtesy of the publisher)

French road rules are similar enough to North American ones that you'll get by fine; here are the important differences

 
 (Photo )

How to decide if a rental car is the best choice for your France vacation

 
A train ticketing machine in France (Photo © Reid Bramblett)

How to get the cheapest fares on French trains

 
 (Photo © Reid Bramblett)

Timing is the key to saving a bundle on airfare to France from North America

 
Air travel is tiring (Photo by Neil Rickards)

Truth is, there is no cure for jet lag—but there are 7 ways to make jet lag easier to bear and quicker to dissipate

 
 (Photo )

Buy at the right time - The sweet spot is 6–12 weeks out

 
 (Photo logos courtesy of Priceline and Hotwire)

How opaque fares work—"Express Deals" on Priceline and "Hot Rates" on Hotwire

 
Global time zones (the red lines divide them) (Photo from CIA World Factbook)

Time zones in France and dealing with the 24-hour clock

 
The national speed limits in France are 50kph in towns and cities, 90kph (soon going to 80) outside of cities, and 130kph on autoroutes (major national highways) (Photo Public Domain)

Renting a car and driving in France

 
 (Photo )

If it's one of the seven deadly sins—gluttony (booze; food), greed (gambling), sloth (spas), extravagance (shore excursions)—it's how a cruise lines makes all its profit

 
Trust me. You do not want to have to deal with the traffic in Paris. (Photo Public Domain)

A rental car is not always the best choice for a France vacation

 
Keep right, except to pass (Photo by Unknown)

Stay in the slow lane (the rightmost one) on a European highway unless you are actively passing another car

 
Explore all of France-or all of Europe—with a rail pass (Photo by Akwa)

Unlimited train travel in France, or France and some neighboring countries, or even all of Europe—Is a Eurail pass worth it?

 
 (Photo Public Domain)

How to leverage your frequent flier status for perks on other airlines

 
EasyJet, one of the oldest and best low-cost carriers in Europe (Photo by Rob Mitchell)

Fly across Europe for as little as $25—welcome to the wonderful age of no-frills airlines, the little jet engines that could

 
A Ouibus (budget long-distance coach) in Paris (Photo by Florian Fèvre)

Long-distance bus travel in France

 
 (Photo by Michael Hansen)

Are cruises safe? Can I cancel a cruise? Can I get cruise cancellation insurance?

 
 (Photo courtesy of Drivethedales.com)

How to get the most out of renting a car in France with the lowest cost and least hassle

 
Michelin makes the best France road maps (Photo courtesy of the publisher)

A good road map can save you time and help you discover places and things not in your guidebook

 
Thaly's is a high-speed line linking Paris to Belgium, Amsterdam, and Germany (Photo © Reid Bramblett)

High-speed trains in France—TGV, ICE, Thello, Renfe-SCNF, TGV Lyria, and the Eurostar connecting Paris to London

 
Pack your own, inexpensive snacks for the plane (Photo © Reid Bramblett)

Airport tips, jet lag, and 24 tips for sleeping on board the flight

 
Fare alerts courtesy of Airfarewatchdog (Photo courtesy of Airfarewatchdog)

From fare alerts to e-savers, deals newsletters to price predictors

 
Sailing the Gulf of St. Tropez in the French Riviera (Photo by mhobl)

Cruises to or from France

 
 (Photo by Geoff Collins)

Get your airfare to France and rental car together and save on both

 
Every country in green is on metric; the yellow and orange ones are in the process of converting (yellow is closer to the goal). Only the U.S., Myanmar, Libera, and North Korea have not gotten with the program. (Photo by Thespaceface)

Get ready to do some math in your head

 
 (Photo courtesy of SCNF.com)

Young adults, families, seniors, and couples can get 25%–50% off all trains with a French railcard

 
If it fits in the overhead bin, they will let you take it on the plane (Photo by Peter Davis)

If your bag measures more than 45" total (L+W+D), it is probably too big for the overhead bin

 
 (Photo courtesy of Europe by Car)

How to arrange for a short-term lease on a brand-new car in France—cheaper than a rental for longer periods, and far better insured

 
Gas in Europe is expensive (Photo by Images Money)

Prepare for REALLY expensive gas—like $7 per gallon

 
Gare de Lyon in Paris (Photo by Noj Han)

Like the trains themselves, French train stations tend to be clean and user-friendly—with tourist info, hotel booking service, left luggage lockers or offices, and decent snack bars (in case you forget to pick up train picnic supplies in town)

 
Fly into London cheaply, and then elsewhere on a low-cost carrier (Photo © Reid Bramblett)

London is the cheap airfares turnstile of Europe, so fly cheaply into here and then elsewhere in Europe or North Africa on a no-frills airline for far less

 
The author, at 12, with his Uncle Marc (19) and the author's trusty hippie-orange VW family campervan somewhere in the Alps (Photo © Frank Bramblett)

Camping is a great way to see France, but you needn't be tied down to tent pegs; RV rentals are as easy in Europe as they are here at home

 
 (Photo by Unknown)

You do not technically need a IDP for France, but consider getting one

 
Beware of pickpockets (Photo by Cory Doctorow)

Sleeping on an overnight train is a relatively safe endeavor, but take a few sensible precautions to avoid pickpockets and thieves and sleep more soundly

 
I think we've all been this sleepy guy at some point in an airport (Photo by fergusfleming)

Major airports in France

 
 (Photo by Unknown)

Don't leave anything visible in the car

 

Roundups of deals and sales from many sources

 
Fare alerts courtesy of Airfarewatchdog (Photo courtesy of Airfarewatchdog)

Get automated updates on low fares and dropping plane ticket prices

 

Topics in France

 (Photo clockwise from top left: "Spring" courtesy of French Moments; "Summer" courtesy of Armand69; "Winter" courtesy of Dreamstime; "Autumn" courtesy of TheWorldExplored)

When it is high, low, and shoulder season in France?

 
Most of us have stared at a handy miles-to-kilometers converter right under our noses on our car dashboards (Photo by Unknown)

Miles and kilometers, feet and meters, and so on

 

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